Do you have a whale?
I finally made it up Wetzel (please send me a “woo hoo”.) !
Three years ago my bf took me up there and I completely collapsed partway up, then spent a good two minutes sprawled out on someone’s lawn, hyperventilating, useless, ignoring his pleas that I assume a posture that didn’t make passing cars think we were having an emergency.
So now I have a new (super supportive, super competent) riding partner, and I was telling her that this hill is stuck in my head, sort of Moby Dick to my Ahab. And would she go with me? She was up for it and holy crap I made it. woo hoo. Got my whale.
Unfortunately, on our next ride she pointed out *her* whale to me, which looked insane, so I went home and checked it out on some map/alt software, and it’s twice as steep as Weltzel. Yikes. Something to work toward anyway – keep me pushing myself.
Anyway, do you have a whale?
Congratulations! My whale is more of a spare tire…
(obtw, sprawled out hyperventilating sounds like an emergency to me.)
Rosedale St, between Verona Rd and Saltzburg, three blocks from my house. It’s only two blocks long, the second block is a perfectly reasonable steep hill. the first block is a verticle wall. In first gear, once my momentum is gone from the tiny space of flat I use to turn up it, I get the pedals around about three times before I swear even my dead weight on the down stroke is not enough to keep me from drifting backwards. Steeper than Negley, by far (just shorter). (note, in a diesel TDI w/manual transmission, I can’t get up this hill in second, I have to stay in first – so I don’t feel so bad).
Every time I ride to work, I walk this hill. I can’t even walk up it without getting short of breath. There’s another hill farther towards work that is not as steep but 6 times longer, I’m making measurable progress in tackling that hill. But not Rosedale.
Shannon Rd (also in PH/Verona) is my mini-whale. Not terribly useful for transportation, just embarassed at having so grossly underestimated it at first. And I just identified my little winter cycling clothing experimentation loop, thank you bikefind for the inspiration
Thanks Lyle, twice.
iirc, at some point after recovering, I tried to make that argument (sprawled out hyperventilating sufficiently constitutes an emergency, or at least trumps worries about what anyone is thinking) but we just seem to have different sets of standards.
I go to the beach and these guys from Greenpeace keep trying to drag me back into the water…
kendall st. up the hill from lawrenceville. the first time i tried it, i was already exhausted from a long ride and had to stop and rest halfway up. the second time, i was feeling confident, and so i tried it while carrying 15-20 pounds of groceries, and i couldn’t stop wheelying–i felt like dan on canton. next time, a car was parked a ways out from the curb, so i had no control over my line, hit a giant hole in the cobbles, and fell over.
it used to be stanton. i was so afraid to try it. ITS NOT THAT BAD! i did it no problem coming from the northside (so i was already a tad on the worn out side).
For me its ascending Sycamore. Every day I leave my house thinking “Ok, today I’m going to do it. I’ve done bigger/steeper hills before.”
And everyday I go up PJ McArdle. I’m not sure if its the steepness or the traffic or the potentially blind corners… but I always quail at actually doing it.
2011 is the year of Sycamore for me.
I suppose Poucusset, because I love riding down it so much.
I am my own whale, just getting away from the computer and on the bike is like a harpoon shot for me.
Rialto. Everytime I ride across the 31SB I think “one day, I’ll try that… but not today.”
All my whales died of old age waiting for me to come after them.
Negley. Thank god I have Kraynick and Biopace to help me up now!
I have a whole pod of whales. Some of them adult whales (Negley) some just baby whales (McClure or Marshall on a bad day).
Pocusset is such a mixed bag. I love that it’s pretty, but people *fly* around those blind curves. I don’t think I’ve had cause to use it in years.
My true whale is the double century – 200 mi in one ride. I think that one has got away from me forever, though.
“There is a wisdom that is woe; but there is a woe that is madness. And there is a Catskill eagle in some souls that can alike dive down into the blackest gorges, and soar out of them again and become invisible in the sunny spaces. And even if he for ever flies within the gorge, that gorge is in the mountains…” – H. Melville
I think that my whales are (a) doing a ”century” in a day –so far I’ve only done half-a-century And (b) climbing McCardle RD to Mt Washington with a maximum of 2-3 stops.
Has anyone done McCardle?
Alright, y’all got me thinking. Hills, long rides don’t daunt me, though I’m not saying I’m in great shape, just a little training and time and it’s all do-able. Mine is this, by the time I’m 60, figure out how to sell-give-away-shitcan everything I own that won’t fit on a bike and spend the rest of my time riding where-ever. That’s my Moby Dick right there.
@Edmonds — and the family is ok with this? or do they not yet know of these dreams?
I’m warming them up to it, ha, ha! They know how miserable I get when I DON’T get to ride.
@bikeygirl I do McArdle daily (well, ok everyday I bike in to work, which is most days)… it looks much more intimidating than it really is. The first couple of times, I stopped once or twice, but after a week or so I could get up no problem. [Not sail up mind you, there’s still a bit of effort involved.]
Federal Street, beyond Perrysville. Every trip out of the city, I have four options that send me home:
1) plunk the bike on a bus rack;
2) trail to Millvale and up Babcock (flat, unbusy);
3) Federal to Perrysville;
4) Federal to UP FRIGGIN’ FEDERAL ITSELF
Federal from North Ave up to about Henderson is a nice little climb that gets most people puffing. From Henderson up to the Perrysville peel-off, it’s plain tough. Beyond that, it’s pure hell, to me, at least. It’s gotta be a 15% grade, or better. (I can’t unicycle it on the 24″ wheel. Like ejwme said, it’s about enough to hold myself on the pedal, never mind turning it.)
Exactly once, I’ve climbed Federal without stopping.
My whale is a series of hills on a ride I call “Mountain Views, Big Climbs.” It includes going up to the West End Overlook via 3 hills, back down to the West End Circle and up Greeenleaf (tough, steep hill that leads up to the back-end of Grandview.) Then I go back to Highland Park via Stanton – or 57th if I’m feelin’ hard-core.
I have a map of this ride on my website – check it out – download it Mountain Views Map and Cue Sheet
warning: this whale is something I’m not proud of
I have yet to leave the southside on a bike. I’ve gone to station square, and Duquesne University. I’ve got a pimped out bike, and after christmas i think it will be finally done, for a little while at least. I hope to go on group rides in the spring and finally nab my whale. I want to ride EVERYWHERE!
My main goal is Trader Joes
John O’Groats to Lands End.
I rode Sycamore for the first time last month. Yeah, it hurt. Yeah, I was the last one to the top. But other than the view, I didn’t feel like I’d accomplished all that much. It’s the long haul truck that both haunts and escapes me.
@stu and @decaf – i don’t think it counts as a whale anymore once you’ve actually *done* it.
My goal is to go on a north side ride without getting off and walking.
Hmm. OK, salty, you have a point. OTOH, I was in my 40s when I made it up Federal that once. Now I’m 52, and I’d like to be able to say I did it once since I turned 50. I’m usually too lazy (bus), too worn out (trail), or not up to it (Perrysville) to even attempt it. So it’s still a whale.
You all do know that the whale killed Ahab and sunk his ship killing everyone but Ishmael right?
I fight my whale everyday. whether im on the bike or not. Im taking everyday as a chance to make a better choice (in what I eat, in what I do, in how I treat people) somedays are better, some are not.
That’s what Ishmael said. Do you trust the word of a cannibal?
@salty – if it doesn’t count once you’ve done it, then my whale is taking off for the summer and riding cross country. It might take 2 summers, one north, one south crossing.
John O’Groats to Lands End.
If you like such things, google London-Edinburgh-London. I have feeble hopes of tackling it in 2013…
Dan, I took a train from London to Edinburgh in 1984. We went through “The Borders” just after sunrise, and there were honest to goodness shepherds wearing tweed jackets and caps, with border collies, herding sheep. It was almost like a travel video unfolding outside my window. From there into Edinburgh I was just enraptured by the countryside. That would be an awesome ride.
I shall google it and add it to my list of things to do “someday” although the “amateur day” at Paris Roubaix calls as well.
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